My favourite stuff of 2017 and a review

Will I ever learn? Every year I come here and write a blog post with some wonderful plans for a New Year ahead, full of photography, filmmaking and exciting art projects.

This year was a break from the 12 monthly projects, a chance to relax and get away from the forced creativity that would enable me to do bigger better projects.

I did nothing.

Only thing of note this year outside of a very creative job was my photography from New York. To be honest, I was rather pleased with a number of photos I took.

More importantly, let us look externally at things that I thought were awesome in 2017.

Travel location – Brooklyn, New York

Such an amazing city which I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. As a simple country boy, I never imagined I’d see places like this and get to stay with some amazing people and go to Coney Island looking for Warrriooorrrssss.

Albums – Top 3

Any year that has Ed Sheeran as the most streamed artist isn’t a good year in my books. Still, some banging tunes came out this year. These three albums contain some of my favourite tunes.

  1. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
  2. Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruin
  3. Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister – Planetarium

Special shout out to Wolf Parade returning with a massive album

Feature Film – Tony Erdmann

Again, I did not go and see enough films this year. The top pick for this year is reliant on you enjoying super dark, long and German films. If not give it a miss.

Short Film – Glue

Between the amazing follow shots, the awesome jazz soundtrack and some serious pow pow, what’s not to love.

Advert – McTavish Surfboards – Dirt Nap

Only came across this recently but it’s gorgeous. I do enjoy a visually amazing ad, it’s like perfume ads, you see them and you’re just like “wha??” but it’s a visual representation of a smell, how could it not be “Whaaaaa??”.

Sporting event / Venue – West Ham Vs Bolton, Olympic Stadium

This was a bit of a grim one. We got trashed, was a horrendous game but it was so much fun. The stadium looked majestic as we walked up to it, the chants were hilarious and the sleeper train home to Glasgow afterward was a delight.

Documentary – Right To Roam from Patagonia

Another recent discovery but a really inspiring one from Patagonia. When you live in Scotland sometimes you forget how amazing the freedom of walking, camping, and exploring is in this gorgeous place. Well worth a watch and yes snowboarding again, it’s playing on my mind perhaps.

TV Show #spoilers – Twin Peaks: The Return

Easy one for me, enjoyed this weirdness immensely. Such a visual and audio treat. Could have done with less Dougie Jones but you had to go through that to get kick ass cooper.

Beer – North Sea Stout from Pilot Beer

Drank a lot this year but this recent beverage has peaked it. Sea water in a milk stout, it makes no sense but tastes yum.

 

How to make a short film that gets into festivals in 60 minutes and for free

I am a big fan of the quick production. Not that there is a problem with the Mallickesque pre-production style across a few decades. The Tree of Life took time, but boy was it worth it.
the-tree-of-life-35

However I have found focusing my creativity quickly can bring great results. One of my most popular short films (Screened across the UK and Europe) to date was made within 60 minutes, Nuclear Mysticism.

  1. 0 minutes on pre-production
  2. 30 minutes of script-less filming
  3. 2 minutes of a one take V/O
  4. 20 minutes of editing
  5. 3 minutes finding the wonderful copyright free “Dali” font for the title.
  6. 5 minutes to grade
  7. 60 minutes total

This short film went to on to be nominated for a variety of festivals across the UK and Europe. Receiving thousands of views and even got me paid work.

Top three tips for submitting to film festivals

 

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After successfully getting a few short films into festivals across the world I thought I would give a quick top three of things to think about when submitting.

1) Budget for submissions
With fees of £15 to £30 for entry, DVDs and postage costs it quickly adds up. Prepare for this in your budget and take into account the cheap early bird fees compared to late deadlines.

2) SPREADSHEETS
It is a total bore but being organised and planning ahead can save you a lot of money and give your film its best chance of selection. I finished up Dragoon in September and meant I could get a lot of the early bird submission deadlines for festivals I really wanted to get into. This is also something that helps when Festivals will only accept if it is a premiere at their festival.

3) noentryfeefestivals.com

This site will save you a fortune. A wonderful resource to enable you to get your film out to the world for free. Most of the films listed are online submissions too so not even postal costs.

 

 

A Little added bonus. Check out http://www.laurelleavesawardmaker.com/  to make your own Film Festival Laurel Leaves.

An Unloved Story: Lost in Translation // Her

Jorge Luengo Ruiz has put together some amazing montages over on Vimeo . This one looking at the two films Lost in Translation and Her is near on perfect. The two stories tie in so beautifully and the GV’s in particular are at times indistinguishable. I hadn’t before even considered the intertwining links between the two stories but the gorgeous city cinematography in both fits so well. Let me know what you think.

 

Best film soundtrack of 2014

frank_film

2014 was a bit of a strange one for soundtracks. A Wes Anderson film came out, surely the King of Quirk would ride to number 1 on his bike made from old trumpets without a question. Alas he went for an original score, not a 70’s throwback to be heard. Setting your film in war torn Europe does lesson the opportunities to stick some Bowie in. Even though its a lovely score it wasn’t that memorable.

Mallick also didn’t make an appearance, which nowadays isn’t so taken for granted. He did however produce this, which after watching 2 seconds of this trailer should come as no surprise.

So who do I turn to? My two favorites were rather close for very different reasons. The runner up is the OST from Frank.

A musical of sorts based fictionally around the paper mache wonder that was Frank Sidebottom. Some hilarious songs that make you want to “Dance all night, dance all night”.

The wonderful whimsy of the whole film, mixed with the great performances as the music was recorded live made for a really enjoyable film and by adding a Gleeson its probably the best comedy film of 2014 for me.

The number one slot goes to a film that could well be the best film of 2014 for me. A lot of critics have also placed it high up in their top tens and if you haven’t seen it I strongly suggest you do.

The Score done by Mica Levi is spectacular.  I recently on a drive up to Oban couldnt get the tracks out of my head as we weaved along the Lochs. Glazer’s film is beautiful and creepy but the soundtrack really does take it to another level.

It actually “took about nine months of working pretty constantly” for Mica to make it. That nine months certainly paid off and it has to be my best soundtrack of 2014. No other film has made me mention the soundtrack before even discussing the film with people. Enjoy.